SAN FRANCISCO — Pablo Sandoval said he wanted to cry as he rounded the bases and headed for the plate after a walk-off homer Sunday. Somewhere at AT&T Park, there were probably a few team officials who felt the same.
The Giants never actively tanked — they did the opposite, in fact — but they did finish just one loss away from the No. 1 pick in the draft. That didn't just cost them a chance to pick first, it also chopped about $500,000 off their draft bonus pool. A few minutes after Sandoval clinched win No. 64, the Tigers lost their 98th game, capping a truly horrendous month of September. They owned the tiebreaker by percentage points, having finished one win behind the Giants last season (the teams both had 75 losses but the Tigers only played 161 games).
The Giants have picked in the top two of the draft just once in their history and it worked out well. They took Will Clark second overall in 1985. A year later, Matt Williams was their selection with the third pick in the draft. Jason Grilli (fourth in 1997) and Buster Posey (fifth in 2008) are the only other top-five picks in franchise history.
Recent history says they’ll get a very talented player who should develop into one of the game’s top prospects. Here’s a look at the last 10 guys who were selected second overall …
2017: Hunter Greene, Reds (in the minors)
2016: Nick Senzel, Reds (in the minors, currently MLB Pipeline’s No. 8 prospect)
2015: Alex Bregman, Astros (worth 3.8 WAR this season)
2014: Tyler Kolek, Marlins (in low minors, lost a year to Tommy John)
2013: Kris Bryant, Cubs (was the 2016 NL MVP)
2012: Byron Buxton, Twins (worth 3.5 WAR this season)
2011: Danny Hultzen, Mariners (retired because of injuries)
2010: Jameson Taillon, Pirates (4.44 ERA in 25 starts this season)
2009: Dustin Ackley, Mariners (was in AAA after six years in Majors)
2008: Pedro Alvarez, Pirates (154 big league homers but never became a star)
If you go back a few more years, you can add Mike Moustakas, Alex Gordon and Justin Verlander to the list. There are also quite a few busts, obviously. The draft is an inexact science, although the last few drafts probably suggest the Giants should go with a position player to minimize the risk. They have until next June to figure out what they want to do.